4 May 2018 – Derek Scullard regained the number one spot in the Mid-Amateur Rankings after putting on a masterful display at the stunning Plettenberg Bay Country Club to win the South African Mid-Amateur Championship in swashbuckling style on Friday.
The 39-year-old former professional from KwaZulu-Natal was composure and confidence personified as he carded four birdies and signed off with a flawless four-under-par 68 to finish six shots clear of Louis Moolman with an eight-under 280 total.
“I am seriously stoked about this win,” said the delighted champion. “This is the premier event of the mid-amateur circuit and the one tournament we all play to win. This is as good as it gets.”
Moolman set the clubhouse target at nine-under in the first round and carried a four-shot lead into the second over Southern Cape favourite Ivan Williams. Scullard, who opened with a 74, lagged 11 shots off the pace.
“I’ve never played Plettenberg Bay Country Club before and I didn’t have time to fit in a practice round, so I had to play the course blind,” Scullard said. “It’s a really testing and challenging course, especially when the west-south-westerly wind blows, as it did in the first round.”
“I didn’t make a great start, but Louis shot a course record 63 that left the rest of us feeling that we were going to have to play for second. I felt more comfortable in the second round, though and was able to attack a bit more.”
Scullard posted the lowest round on day two – a three-under 69 that reduced the gap between himself and Moolman to eight shots. Then he wiped out the deficit with another 69 and grabbed a share of the lead at four-under when the Pretoria golfer registered 77 in the third round.
“You have to hit it in the right spots on this course and it really helps if you have a lot of different shots in the bag,” said the Mount Edgecombe golfer. “I used the driver a bit more and more putts dropped.
“Coming into the last round tied with Louis and a four shot lead, it was still touch and go, but I made a good start and built from there. To finish it off in bogey-free style in the last round was really special.”
Moolman and Scullard both started with back-to-back pars, but the Pretoria golfer had a double bogey at the par five fourth.
Scullard made two birdies on the bounce at three and four and once he took control, he never looked back. After birdie number three at the short sixth, he made seven straight pars and holed a bunker shot at 14 for birdie to move to eight-under.
“That was definitely the highlight of my round,” Scullard said. “I chunked it into the bunker and Louis was on the green with a good chance for birdie. He made birdies at seven and eight, but dropped shots at 12 and 13, so he really needed it.
“I holed the trap shot and he missed the birdie putt and that was huge. I didn’t know what the guys up ahead were doing, but I was seven shots ahead of Louis. I could relax a little and enjoy the couple of holes.”
A three-time winner in 2017, the former number one ranked mid-amateur has had a frustrating start to the season and was delighted to turn a corner.
“I played really nicely,” he said. “It started slow but my game improved every round and I feel that I’m building to some really good form. My biggest goal is to earn national colours and represent South Africa abroad and hopefully this is the start of achieving that dream.”
Moolman, who couldn’t sustain his red-hot start, birdied the closing hole for 74 and sole second on two-under, while Williams took third on even-par after a final round 72.
For the final results, click HERE
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA.